Sam Howell will be a very controversial prospect when he enters the NFL Draft. Many media scouts love Howell and project him as an early first round pick. However, sources within the league have told me quite the opposite. “I don’t see a single trait in (Howell) that would merit a first round pick,” a former NFL general manager told me. 

The Measurables

Sam Howell

QB – #7 North Carolina

HT: 6006
WT: 225
DOB: 9/16/2000

Year: Redshirt Sophomore
High School: Sun Valley (Indian Trail, NC)
HS Rating: 4 star (0.9582)
Phil Steele: PS#8

Sam Howell Scouting Report

Has more than adequate arm strength. Pushes the ball out well, even from awkward arm angles and off platform. Velocity is strong. Throws a good touch ball. Release is a little extended. Can take him a moment to get the throw off with touch. Looks like he has really tightened his release fundamentals this offseason. Speed has improved too, unless throwing with touch.

Box accurate quarterback. Doesn’t show pin point accuracy and will struggle to throw through windows. Tends to underthrow. Not from lack of arm strength, goodness, he has it. It seems as though he’s worried about overthrowing his receivers. Touch ball placement is oftentimes a little bit off. Flashes some very impressive placement in the intermediate-to-deep range along the sideline. Pocket positioning is not elite, but not bad. Doesn’t do himself any favors normally. Moves well through the pocket, though he doesn’t have the natural feel for the pocket that you’d like to see. Can make defenders miss and keep the play alive, moving forward for a positive gain.

Not the most consistent feet. Can be lazy at times, especially on handoffs and such – just lacks urgency. Footwork speed is good… But could be better with more consistency. Offers some ability to move outside of the pocket to extend plays. Doesn’t do it very often. Offers some ability downfield as a runner. Shows good balance.

Tough, physical running style. Would like to see him take less punishment and slide down. Feels like he has to finish runs. Nifty. Shows some improvability skill. Not as consistent as some prospects in recent memory. I don’t think extending the play is his real strength because of his lack of pocket ability. You don’t see him keeping the play in structure well. Has flashed the ability to work outside of the pocket to extend the play and keep the structure alive. There is no doubt that Howell see’s the field well and can diagnose coverages both pre-and-post snap. Howell works through his progressions and uses his eyes extremely well.

What we want to see from Sam Howell in Mobile

  • We want to see Sam Howell just show up in Mobile. The true junior graduated in three years but simply lacks the consistency on the field with his accuracy and placement. He’s got the majority of the best quarterbacks in the class he will be up against, so we want to see how well he shows up against these prospects in the class.

Pre-Senior Bowl projection

Sam Howell is a modern drop back quarterback, someone who can throw well from the pocket but is a capable runner and can extend plays. He’s a bit too physical as a runner and took a lot of unnecessary punishment in college. We think that Howell needs to work out some of his mechanics before he will be an effective starter in the NFL.

We like Howell as a second/third round quarterback prospect. His upside is certainly there, we just think that he will be somewhat limited most of his career, much like how Baker Mayfield has turned out in the NFL.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

2 thoughts on “Senior Bowl Preliminary Report: QB Sam Howell, North Carolina”

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